There was neither non-existence nor existence then. There was neither the realm of space nor sky which is beyond…. Darkness was hidden by darkness in the beginning. With no distinguishing sign, all this was water.
Rig Veda, Mandala 10, verse 129
The waters have their healing power, the waters drive disease away.
The waters have a balm for all: let them make medicine for thee.
Rig Veda, Mandala 10, verse 137
The Rig Veda places water as the source of all creation, it also defines water as the healer of all. Saraswati, “she who has ponds, lakes and pooling water”, she who is the, “best of mothers, best of rivers, best of goddesses, Sarasvatī.” (Rigveda 2.41.16) is the goddess of wisdom and the arts, she is healer and purifier.
In symbology, to varying degrees in each tradition but somehow present in all, water is that essential element: It is the source of life, a medium for purification, a center of regeneration. It represents the infinite where all is possible, it is at once the promise and vehicle of development and the germinator of all seeds.
Water comprises 60% of the human body, 80%of a fish, 75% of a bird, 50% of a tree, 90% of a flower, 70% of the Earth. We can live three weeks without food, but only about four days without water. When we walk in the desert what we imagine and crave is water – it is not food, nor cars, (nor, incredibly enough, non slip yoga mats) – the scorching heat gives rise to the image of luminescent reflective water shining at a distance – always at a distance, always out of reach. Water is that thing which allows us to see our true self in its reflection, and in which we can drown from vanity.
We all know these things, as we let the water run while we wait for it to get cold or hot, while we brush our teeth, while we wash our hair. We all know this when we let garbage drop or use plastic knowing its most likely depository will be the sea or another water source. I do many of these things too. I find it impossible to be perfect with my usage of water or my creation and deposition of garbage – everything seems to come packaged, wrapped and rewrapped. You have not even been asked and your delivery food arrives with plastic cutlery wrapped in plastic inside a plastic bag.
Then there are the facts:
Only 2.5% of the world’s water is fresh, and only 1% of that is easily accessible
Over 700million people do not have access to an improved water source
At least 2 billion people drink water contaminated by faeces (due to open defication and animal farming)
1 in 5 girls does not go to school versus 1 in 6 boys – A part of this difference is because girls are responsible for fetching water – in some places this can take up to 6 hours per day
There are more people in the world with a mobile phone than with access to clean water
90% of bottled water contains microplastics
Every minute one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into our oceans
Is there something each one of us can do? A little change we can make today in one of our habits, and another little change tomorrow?